Co-development of math anxiety, math self-concept, and math value in adolescence: The roles of parents and math teachers

Zhe Wang, Giulia A. Borriello, Wonjung Oh, Sarah Lukowski, Margherita Malanchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the well-documented negative implications of math anxiety on math learning, a scarcity of theory-guided, long-term longitudinal research limits knowledge about how math anxiety develops over time. Guided by the Control-Value Theory of Achievement Emotions (Pekrun, 2006), the present study addresses this gap by examining (1) how math anxiety develops in tandem with the development of control and value appraisals across secondary schooling, and (2) how these three constructs co-develop in relation to characteristics of home and school contexts. We used growth mixture modeling to investigate how math anxiety, math self-concept (a frequently examined indicator of control appraisal), and math utility value (one dimension of math value) develop in parallel in a sample of 3116 adolescents, who were assessed annually across middle and high school. We identified three trajectory classes: a stable class, characterized by stably modest math anxiety, high math self-concept, and high math utility value, a linear change class, characterized by increasing math anxiety and decreasing math self-concept and utility value, and a fluctuating class, characterized by curvilinear changes in math anxiety, math self-concept, and math utility value. Parental academic support and teacher bias differentiated the stable class from the fluctuating class at the transition to middle school, and from the linear change class at the transition to high school. Our findings point to the heterogeneous contributions of control and value appraisals towards the development of math anxiety and highlight the importance of investigating multiple dimensions of the socio-ecological context at different stages of math anxiety development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102016
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Adolescence
  • Home and school contexts
  • Math anxiety
  • Math self-concept
  • Math utility value


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